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Apricot Basil Chicken Salad

Chicken salad was once a food I refused to eat. I found it too mayonnaise-y and bland for my tastes, but that at all changed when I ate the chicken salad at a restaurant near my college campus. I still remember the first time I tried it, amazed that something I despised for so long could be so delicious.

That was the changing point that showed me chicken salad didn’t have to be dull. Not only was that chicken salad full of flavor, but it had a pleasing texture thanks to the addition of grapes. Since then, fruit in chicken salad has always been a must for me. I added grapes to this curried chicken salad, and now I’ve got another favorite in this version made with dried apricots.

Apricot Basil Chicken Salad
Photo by Courtney Champion|Cook Like a Champion

In addition to the dried apricots, this chicken salad is also studded with toasted almonds and plenty of fresh basil. Far from boring, this chicken salad has enough flavour and texture to convert even the most ardent chicken salad haters.

Since the recipe uses both Greek yogurt and mayonnaise, the resulting taste is much lighter than traditional chicken salad. Champagne vinegar adds just enough acidity to cut through the sweetness of the apricots.

I used leftover roasted chicken to make this salad, and I love that I can turn one meal into several by using leftovers in that way.

Apricot Basil Chicken Salad
Recipe type: Lunch
Author: Barely adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves/Yield: 4
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup finely diced white onion or shallot
  • 1 cup diced celery, with leaves if possible
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Crackers or sandwich bread, for serving
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic, paprika and vinegar in a large bowl. Fold in the chicken, almonds, onion, celery, apricots, basil and poppy seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld, then serve with your favorite crackers or sandwich bread.
Notes
For a tropical version, use dried mangoes in place of the apricots and cashews instead of almonds.

 

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